Monday, August 20, 2012

A sea change in the heartland

Take a close look at this picture.

Hardhats? Check.
Denim work clothes? Check.
Marching en mass? Check.

Is it a group of workers going on strike? Are they marching for higher wages and "social justice?" It's an election year, so maybe - like good, obedient union members - they're on their way to attend an Obama rally, right?

Well, none of the above.

What these coal miners - and about 2,600 of their co-workers, family members and friends - are doing is standing in line to attend a Mitt Romney rally near Beallsville, Ohio.

The Obama campaign loves to talk about "fighting for the middle class," but here is the middle class incarnate. Hard-working men and women who want to have a job, own a home, send the kids to college and have a retirement waiting for them.

And they understand that the Obama years have not moved them any closer to those dreams. Obama's open hostility towards oil, coal and natural gas - phantom "green jobs" in pie-in-the-sky wind and solar developments are the White House's preferred pipe dream - is a threat to their way of life.

According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 54-year-old miner Tim Wiles and many of his colleagues are excited about Romney.

“This election is his and Paul Ryan’s for the taking," Wiles said. "They need to be bold and remind people of what we stand for, that we are the backbone of this country. We make things. We provide energy for the state, food for our families, and businesses are sustained around the county because they make money from us."

You can read polls and splice numbers all you want, but this seems certain: If unionized mine workers are willing to stand in the hot sun, lined up to hear a Republican presidential candidate, Obama has serious problems.

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